Dismiss Arafat Cabinet, says corruption panel

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The Independent Online
A Palestinian legislative panel investigating corruption called yesterday for the dismissal of Yasser Arafat's Cabinet and recommended charges be filed against three ministers. In unprecedented criticism, the committee blamed the Cabinet for failing to follow up reports of mismanagement and urged Mr Arafat to "dissolve the entire Cabinet and form a new Cabinet made up of technocrats and qualified people".

The panel's six-week investigation found wide-ranging abuses, including one minister who diverted $7,500 (pounds 4,500) to pay for central heating at his house, and another who misused his authority to exempt 4,300 cars from customs duties. The council has no authority to enforce the recommendations of the five-member panel, but there have been rumours for weeks that ministers would be fired because of widening corruption allegations.

AP - Ramallah